What is 'discipline' in family life?

Discipline is a challenging topic for most parents. We have all been on the receiving end of it. Perhaps we were parented in a draconian way full of so many rules and regulations that we have chosen to have a more fluid style of parenting. Or, we could have seen the outplay of how we were parented and know the importance of something different. Could we say then that our parenting style is likely to be influenced by our own experience, or by observing the outplay of someone else’s experience? If that is the case, then we will all have a different perception of the words ‘discipline’, ‘rules’, ‘standards’ and ‘boundaries’ which will influence how we then value those terms in our parenting.

Why do we need rules, standards and boundaries as an essential part of discipline?

Is it because we have stopped considering others in the decisions we make and find ourselves living a more centralised, entitled way of living? This entitled approach says, ‘I have a right to do what I want’, it does not consider others or the outplay of the decision, it simply feels entitled to do, have, behave or take what it wants for its own benefit regardless of the impact or potential harm it may cause another. It is a ‘me me me’ approach to life.

However, this is also not our natural way. If we consider a baby, would a baby purposefully harm another? Would a baby purposefully antagonise? Would a baby do any of the things that we need laws, rules, regulations to address? The answer has to be no! They are going to need to know boundaries because they need to learn about outcomes and consequences. Things like not touching a hot stove, is going to burn our finger, but also that there is a responsibility in everything we do.

So, discipline in family life is about sharing vital skills for learning accountability and how to stay true to ourselves when the world tries to pull us to fit in with a ‘normal’ that we may not like to be our ‘normal’.

It can be hard to let children take the consequences of their actions, but it is vital to do that from a very young age or they develop a sense of entitlement that is counter to the natural way of living with respect to their environment and to the community around them. The first person to model that behaviour is us!

If you want to read more with some practical examples…we have an article on Rules Standards and Boundaries just one click away 😀


Further reading

Role modelling from the inside-out


Rules, standards and boundaries

Rome wasn't built in a day


Boundaries, parties, lying and me